One of the hypes in the self-improvement and self-development area is the hype of having to create the perfect morning routine. It supposedly has to consist of a few very fundamental steps to be ‘’perfect’’ so it can set you up to have the best possible day for every day that you do your morning routine. Basically implying, and a little guilt tripping you if I am honest, that when you don’t do it you’ll have this awful day and getting up was a mistake. I am here to debunk the secrets of the so-called best morning routines for you. By the way if you are here to find a step by step tutorial of the best morning routine there is, you’re out of luck because this is about debunking the hype of the best morning routines. I’ll reveal my morning routine in a follow up post (that post could potentially be one sentence fyi..).
1. The Integration Of Morning Routines With Your Daily Lifestyle
Most morning routines expect you to get up before the crack of dawn. For lots of people this is not possible due to their lifestyle. Yes, there are many things you can change about your lifestyle such as the time you go to bed and wake up but this has to be according to the rest of your obligations of the day. Something that lots of people forget to tell you about. Things the routines do not account for are, for example, your job, because not everyone has a job where the starting and ending hour is the same every day. Another being your living situation. When you wake up, can you immediately start your day or are there other people that also wake up at the same time as you and the shower is already taken or the kitchen too crowded? Same thing at night, can you immediately make dinner? In other words not everyone lives by themselves and can call the shots as they please. Another example are your daily commutes, if you have to commute during rush hours the commute time can seriously differ sometimes especially when commuting by public transport. So whether you can accommodate getting up early into your day is not a simple case of just waking up earlier, your entire day and lifestyle has to accommodate for it.
2. You Don’t Have To Wake Up Early For Your Morning Routine
Some of the best morning routines advertise that you wake up before the crack of dawn, but then there are others that are mostly focused on doing the routine in the morning when you wake up and not really focused on when you wake up. The first problem I discussed in the first point and the second type of morning routine focus is also problematic for one obvious point. If you need to perform your morning routine in the morning you need time for it, else you are going to be late. It’s as simple as that. Now this doesn’t have to mean that you have to wake up before the crack of dawn, but it does mean either moving your first appointment of the day to later or waking up a tad earlier. Of these two options usually the latter is the only one feasible, making you run back into the problems discussed in the first point.
3. Toxic Keep Up Of The Healthy Habit: ‘’Best Morning Routines’’
Because the best morning routines are marketed as such a vital part of your morning that you can’t skip it, it opens the door to toxic behaviors. The implication of it being so vital for a good day can lead to guilt when you don’t do it for whatever reason. Mostly these reasons are said to be excuses that you need to ditch. Do I believe that some reasons might actually be excuses? Yes, yes I do. However I do believe that there are valid excuses or reasons, as I prefer to call them, to do your morning routine later or even not at all. Let me give you an example; if you upfront know you are going to have an extraordinary long day I believe it is perfectly fine and even healthy to opt for an extra little bit of shut-eye on the premise of it not being done through snoozing your alarm. Or you had something happen good (I’m thinking of a spontaneous fun outing with friends) or bad during the day which made you go to bed later than you expected or normally would. When you look at the marketing for the best morning routines there seems to be no place for this by life demanded flexibility which is very much needed to cope with the normal fluency of life.
Another toxic habit that flows out of the guilt trip is cutting your sleep just so you can keep up with doing your morning routine. As I said in the post about sacrifices to stop not sleeping used to widespread be used as form of torture. So I ask you why in heaven’s name would you do that to yourself?! Not sleeping enough for a night will most likely not be the reason you die, but it certainly doesn’t help you stay healthy especially when you start doing it more often just to deal with the guilt of not doing your oh-so important morning routine. I’m telling you the positive effects of having a morning routine will never ever make up for the negative effects of not sleeping enough regularly.
4. Having An Early Morning Routine Is The Secret Of Other People’s Success
Whether you do or do not have a morning routine even if you have the best of the best of all the best morning routines it will not be the secret to your success. Can it help? Yes but no. It is not the morning routine that helps, it is the habits you build that fall under the morning routine that help you achieve success. Those habits often are not just applicable to the morning but also to other parts of your life. Perhaps not in terms of doing them but the effect of them is lasting. One big habit that is discussed as part of the morning routine is making sure you get out of bed when your alarm goes off. I think it will not come as a shock to you when I say that when you are not rushing in the morning and leave your house on time your start of the day is immediately better. One of the reasons for that is when you do snooze your alarm and you have to rush your way out of the door you might be experiencing stress and stress eats at your energy opening the possibility of being tired earlier in the day. Also not having to rush is a big plus in the mood department, or is that just me?
5. The Morning Routine Habits Have To Be Beneficial To You
I just said that the habits that are part of the best morning routines lists are the ones that can help you achieve success however there is a big side note that has to be placed with that statement. Whether or not one of those or all of those morning routine habits actually contribute to you having an amazing day has to do with whether or not those habits work for you. In less complicated form; do you actually like them? Are they for you? As someone who has tested a fair share of routine habits I know for a fact that even if a habit is great if you don’t like it to the point of not being able to integrate it properly with your daily life and routine forcing yourself to do it will only make you unhappy.
A habit not working for you can have many reasons. For example you could be doing it at the wrong time of the day for you, you need to do it for shorter periods of time, you need a different version of the habit that you have yet to come across, the habit is simply not something you need and many other perfectly valid reasons. A good example from my life of a habit not working for me is journaling in the morning to clear your mind and set you up for the day. I have tried this off and on for the longest of time, I absolutely hated it even though I love journaling. Obviously this had me baffled. It turned out that I am not used to journaling in the morning, it’s something I mostly do at night. I took it out of my morning routine and started doing it at night, not every night but about 3 to 4 times a week, and I am successful with it to this day. In conclusion when adopting these morning routine habits it’s okay if they don’t work for you, there are many more out there that you could potentially try that will actually be beneficial to you.
One type of journaling I do is Dear Diary Journaling, which you can read about here. One thing it is great for is dealing with cropped up frustrations.
Another type of journaling I do is to help me cope with my ruminating, which you can read about here. I of course also write my wonderlongues, which may resonate with life questions you wouldn’t dare ask out loud but doing so would sincerely improve your mental health.
6. The Mindset Of Being A Morning VS Night Person
There is a heavy discussion about the validity of saying you are a morning vs a night person and whether there even exists such a thing. No matter where you stand on this debate it influences how you behave. If you are in the mindset of believing that you are way more productive in the evenings than you are in the mornings you probably will be. So perhaps to you it would be beneficial to do those day set up behaviors at night seeing that you are awake any ways. Also if you are in the camp of an evening/night person there is a high chance of you not enjoying the mornings as much. On the other hand if you are in camp morning person then would it really be wise to be stealing this time performing mood boosting morning routines when you are already in your productive peak? Seeing that one of the points of having a morning routine is to set yourself up to have a productive day wouldn’t it be counter effective if you use your most productive hours on things you could essentially do at any other hour of the day?
7. You Already Have A Great Morning Habit
Basically all I have to argue this one is the famous saying by T. Bert Lance:
‘’If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’’T. Bert Lance
If you are the type of person that wakes up when the alarm clock goes off and starts their day productively and actively you might not need a morning routine because you are already doing something that works for you. The goal of having a morning routine is to set you up to have a good productive prosperous day, if you’re having that just by getting up and starting your day why mess with something that is clearly working? When you do this you are putting yourself at risk of breaking a habit that is very beneficial to you. Relearning this habit is easier than learning it from scratch but you still gave yourself extra work by messing with a good working equation. I can already hear the question ’’but having a morning routine can have so many benefits’’, true but also negatives just look at the list above. Could it be worth it to try to improve your mornings, yes definitely but consider yourself warned by the words of T. Lance.
8. Your Day Can Still Suck Even With A Morning Routine
Can a morning routine influence your day positively? Most definitely. However can your day still be ruined? Yes, of course. With or without morning routines you still have to live the rest of your day and a day has more hours without a morning routine that it does with your morning routine. Believing that you will have an amazing day just because you did your morning routine is basically believing that leaving a piece of chocolate cake on the kitchen table without a note is still going to be there at the end of the day. Let’s be honest, it’s a dicey and gutsy move.
9. False Promises: Having A Good Day Is Due To Other Factors
You effectively having an amazing day every day you do your list of morning routine tasks is not solely based on you doing your morning routine. There are so many more factors determining whether you have a great day or not. Four examples:
- Your to-do list for the day: if you have a to-do list full of things you hate doing you might be happy in the morning and potentially rather annoyed at the end. Pretty Logical, No?
- The people in your life influence your day and they can do this positively or negatively, which is normal.
- Your problem-solving skills: you being able to efficiently deal with the everyday normal hiccups will significantly improve your day. With everyday hiccups I mean things such as accidently misplacing your keys, getting stuck in traffic or forgetting your lunch at home and other normal things that happen every now and then.
- Your mindset. The three above are heavily influenced by your mindset, honestly I could write an entire post about that. The way you see your life, your day, the people in it, the things you have to do all significantly determine what kind of day you are having. For example; If you know before even having left the house that you have to meet-up with the colleague that stinks you might already be annoyed at the amount of time you have to spend with that person, but if you are the kind of person that says it’s only 4 hours and then you don’t have to see that colleague again for a whole month you might have a way better day that’s inline with the promise of doing the morning routine.
I hope it is clear that you having and actually doing your morning routine and then having an amazing day is a very easy bias to create and uphold even when it is clearly not the reason why you are having an amazing day.
All in all we can conclude that there is more to the hype of the best morning routines and all that they promise to do, so be mindful before buying into it and potentially upheaval your life negatively.